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Labour-Alliance abolishes interest on student loan

Minister of Social Services and Employment
Associate Minister of Education
(Tertiary Education)
20 December, 1999

Labour-Alliance abolishes interest on student loans

Tertiary Education Minister Steve Maharey today announced that the new Labour-Alliance government has agreed to abolish interest on student loans for full-time and other low income students from New Year’s Day.

Cabinet had agreed to the proposal this morning.

“For many current students, the interest component of the student loans scheme has been a millstone. It has been a huge disincentive to learning.

“This move strikes a blow for equality of access to higher education, enabling many more New Zealanders to achieve their potential while assisting the government in our efforts to transform the New Zealand economy towards more knowledge-based, high technology industries.

“Parliament will need to pass legislation giving effect to this change. The legislation will be backdated to allow the abolition of the interest component for full-time and other low income students to take effect on 1 January 2000.

Mr Maharey said that Cabinet also agreed to officials undertaking a full review of the student loan system, and also to allow students to borrow from the student loan system for student association fees.

“We will also address the issue of loan repayment rates once students are in the workforce. Officials will be directed to work on this as the government continues to look at how to bring the student debt problem under control.

“The new Labour-Alliance government is committed to improving access to and affordability of tertiary education. Today’s decisions will go along way to achieving those ends,” Mr Maharey said.

ENDS

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